Wavelength (song)

Last updated

Single by Van Morrison
from the album Wavelength
B-side "Checkin' It Out"
ReleasedOctober 1978
RecordedSpring 1978
Studio Shangri-La, Malibu, California
Genre Pop rock
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Van Morrison
Producer(s) Van Morrison
Van Morrison singles chronology
Audio sample

"Wavelength" is the title song from the 1978 album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. Released as a single in 1978, it climbed to number forty two in the US charts, and stayed in the Hot 100 for eleven weeks. According to Howard A. Dewitt, this "was the song which re-established Morrison's hit making abilities". [1]

Singer-songwriter musician who writes, composes and sings

Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose, and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.

Van Morrison Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician

Sir George Ivan MorrisonOBE, better known as Van Morrison, is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer. His professional career began as a teenager in the late 1950s playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Van Morrison rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic "Gloria". His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967. After Berns's death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Though this album gradually garnered high praise, it was initially a poor seller.


Recording and composition

"Wavelength" was recorded in spring 1978 at the Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California. [2]

Malibu, California City in California, United States

Malibu is a beach city in western Los Angeles County, California, situated about 30 miles (48 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles. It is known for its Mediterranean climate and its 21-mile (34 km) strip of the Malibu coast, incorporated in 1991 into the City of Malibu. The area is known for being the home of Hollywood movie stars, people in the entertainment industry, and other affluent residents. Most Malibu residents live within a few hundred yards of Pacific Coast Highway, which traverses the city, with some residents living up to a mile away from the beach up narrow canyons. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,645.

The most important contribution to the music was made by Peter Bardens who played the 1970s synthesizers.

Peter Bardens English keyboardist

Peter Bardens was an English keyboardist and a founder member of the British progressive rock group Camel. He played keyboards, sang, and wrote songs with Andrew Latimer. During his career, Bardens worked alongside Rod Stewart, Mick Fleetwood and Van Morrison. He also recorded solo albums.

In his biography, Brian Hinton states that it is, "a love song about the mysterious and unspoken communication between a couple" and also refers to the singer's adolescent years when he would listen to the Voice of America and the sounds of his favorite artists such as Ray Charles singing "Come back baby, come back". [3] In the song Morrison refers to his first solo hit single "Brown Eyed Girl", using the lyrics "Won't you play that song again for me, about my lover, my lover in the grass". [4]

Brian Hinton, MBE is an English poet and musicologist. In June 2006 he was honoured in H. M. the Queen's Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to the Arts.

Voice of America Official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government

Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. government-funded international multimedia agency which serves as the United States federal government's official institution for non-military, external broadcasting. It is the largest U.S. international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its leaders.

Ray Charles American musician

Ray Charles Robinson was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". He was often referred to as "The Genius". Charles started losing his vision at the age of 5, and by 7 he was blind.

The Allmusic reviewer wrote that, "'Wavelength' makes some nods to its era (1978), most notably and obviously via the use of fat 1970s synthesizers—played by Peter Bardens—which play spacy loops that mimic the interference and bubbling feedback one gets when dialing up shortwave radio stations. It is a little bit of cleverness, as Morrison elicits the same feelings on his own recording that he no doubt had discovering his favorite new music." [4]

Live performances

As performed by the Wavelength band on tour, it was a very popular song. Morrison assembled the band to promote his album, Wavelength that was released at the same time.

<i>Wavelength</i> (album) 1978 studio album by Van Morrison

Wavelength is the tenth studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, and was released in the autumn of 1978. The album has a different musical sound from his previous albums, leaning towards a pop rock sound with prominent electric guitars and synthesizers. Wavelength was Morrison's best selling album at the time of the original release. Mick Glossop, Bobby Tench and Peter Bardens were given credit for special assistance in production.


"Wavelength" was rated at #253 in Dave Marsh's 1989 book The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever. [5]

Other releases

"Wavelength" was the opening track on the 1980 disc DVD released by Van Morrison in 2006 and entitled Live At Montreux 1980/1974 . It is one of the hits remastered in 2007, which has been included on the compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits . It was also performed in 1979, on Morrison's first video Van Morrison in Ireland , which was released in 1981.



  1. DeWitt, Howard A.. The Mystic's Music. p.104
  2. Heylin, Can You Feel the Silence?, p. 523
  3. Hinton, Celtic Crossroads, p.211
  4. 1 2 Janovitz, Bill. "Wavelength". allmusic.com. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
  5. "Dave Marsh the 1001 greatest Singles Ever". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 8 April 2007.

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